Overview of the Latest WordPress Updates & Why You Need to Stay Current

When you log in to add content to your WordPress site and see that there is an update, what is the first thing you think?

Some website owners cringe, think, “I don’t have time for this now!” and move on with their work. Then before they know it, they are several versions behind and much more vulnerable to an attack.

WordPress updates bring several important elements to your website, including security, forward-looking features, and compatibility improvements.

We will explain why it’s so important to stay current with your website’s WordPress updates.

Why are WordPress Updates Important?

WordPress has been around since 2003. It has become one of the most popular ways to easily build and launch websites around the world. WordPress is a market leader due to its ease of use, portability, and the thousands of themes and plugins available.

Like any other web-based platform, the code behind WordPress is always getting refined and improved. These refinements come to you via the WordPress Update page. However, not all website owners are thrilled to see another update asking to be installed.

You may think that your website runs fine, and you do not want to risk something breaking because of a WordPress update. As the adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, not installing those updates can be problematic and cause you major problems.

Here is why WordPress updates are important to install:

  • Security patches: Installing patches to found security vulnerabilities is the most important reason to keep your WordPress version current. Hackers exploiting a flaw can take over your site, erase your files, and replace them with their own to use your site for phishing or something else.
  • Bug fixes: All software has bugs, and since WordPress is web software, it is no exception. Bugs cause certain parts of the platform to work incorrectly or not work as intended. Updates bring fixes to bugs that have been found by developers, owners, and users.
  • Compatibility updates: WordPress uses plugins from various developers to enable functionalities like adding a shopping cart or a slider. For all components (plugins, themes, etc.) to stay compatible with each other and any new web protocols out there like CSS, compatibility updates are included from time to time.
  • Feature upgrades: There are important feature upgrades that are included in WordPress updates that can make it easier for you to maintain your site and that offer new interactive elements to improve visitor conversions.

Attacks on WordPress Sites

There are nearly 90,000 attacks per minute on WordPress websites. These include things like:

  • Database injections
  • Upload exploitation
  • Cross-site request
  • Authentication bypass
  • Denial of service
  • Full path disclosure

WordPress powers 40% of websites, and therefore is a big target for hackers. That does not mean you should stop using WordPress—just be a good steward of your website updates (or hire someone to do it for you, hint hint).

Recent WordPress Feature Updates

WordPress usually puts out updates two to three times per year, but there are also minor updates that may come in between. These are also important because they may include vital security patches that have to be issued as soon as possible.

WordPress 5.7 Updates

WordPress 5.7 introduced “quality of life” upgrades to make a website owner’s job easier.

This included the ability to upgrade a site from HTTP to HTTPS at the click of a button. This was a much-needed upgrade for two key reasons:

  • It has been hard for some website owners to figure out the steps to take to secure their site with HTTPS.
  • HTTPS is now pretty much a necessity both for site visitors and for your SEO rankings.

Many website owners post links to their social media on their website, but it has not always been easy to get social icons to blend with the look and color scheme of a website.

WordPress 5.7 addressed this as well, providing more styling capabilities for social icons, including color and sizing. It also added icons for Patreon and TikTok.

The password management experience was also improved both for administrators and site users. Administrators gained the ability to click to send a password reset without needing to open a user’s profile. The user immediately receives a link they can follow to reset a lost or compromised password.

WordPress 5.8 Updates

The current version of WordPress is 5.8 Tatum. It is named in honor of the legendary jazz pianist Art Tatum. 

One of the time-saving features included is the ability to manage widgets with blocks. You can add blocks in both widget areas across the site as well as with live preview through the Customizer.

You can edit the template blocks around posts that hold your content. This gives website owners more control over styling and the ability to easily switch between editing a page and editing a post using the same familiar block editor.

WordPress also added support for WebP,  the newest image format which helps website owners get the perfect mix of low image size and good image quality. This format allows images to be around 30% smaller on average without losing quality, enabling faster loading web pages.

Make WordPress Updates Easy by Getting Help from an Expert

Many website owners do not apply WordPress or plugin updates because they are afraid it will cause problems with their site. Twin State Technical Services can remove the stress of keeping your site secure and current by handling all those updates for you. We would be happy to help you determine precisely what IT cybersecurity solutions need to be in place for your site. 

Contact us today for a consultation. Call 563-441-1504 or contact us online.


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